A Visit with a Super Bowl Vintner

Coach Dick Vermeil offers some real solutions to avoid the fiscal cliff!

He is from here (Northern California) and I am from there (suburban Philadelphia), but for many years he has lived there and I have lived here.

There he is a rock-star-status Super Bowl coach. Here he is a Napa County wine guy who tends to his vines, getting to the vineyards far before the field workers, riding his tractor and picking his grapes.

Dick Vermeil never misses a harvest, and today in his Calistoga tasting room, filled to the brim with memorabilia from a huge career as a football coach and TV commentator, he is equally passionate about wine and football.

Dick coached the Philadelphia Eagles when my husband was in his formative years. Don was a rabid fan, loving then hating, but always forgiving. He and Vermeil are really going at it now and I’m noticing an interesting correlation.

Both wine and football refer to particular years often, as part of their stories. For example, the “‘06 cab” or “the 1980 Eagles,” who made it the Super Bowl. So, numbers and seasons and stats are flying around the tasting room and I am a little dazed by it all.

If this weren’t all enough, the knowledgeable, articulate and very charming “Coach,” has brought us each a glass of the “hobby” cabernet that made him and winemaker/partner Paul Smith realize they could make a successful business out of their wine.

Holy Calistoga, what a cabernet this is! Both Dick and Paul have explained their interesting history together, and their philosophy about growing wine in this particular AVA (American Viticultural Area) but they can not explain this taste — you have to experience it yourself — and this they know well.

So, while hubs and the coach are on the gridiron somewhere back in time, I have a great urge to sit down cross legged on the rug, in this awesome tasting room, and just stop and take it all in.

Sipping this splendid potion, I have, I think, hatched a championship plan.

Channeling the spirit of John F. Kennedy, I now know what I can do for my country, post-election. I need to get the entire United States Congress to take an immediate junket to Dick Vermeil’s tasting room. I need to set this up ASAP as the fiscal cliff awaits us all on midnight Dec. 31.  

I need to get all these folks a glass of Dick and Paul’s elixir to enjoy together as they chat and talk like real human beings. The tasting room is not that big, so there’s absolutely no way there can be aisles of any kind to divide them.

Within a short time, I believe they will avoid all the dialogue regarding sequestration and concentrate instead on fermentation. They will feel a sense of place, of country and of purpose. They will realize what compromise and balance can do to create a great wine, and they will heed the lessons of the lowly grape.

At exactly this point in time Dick and Paul can offer a second glass to the entire United States Congress, if and ONLY if, they don’t toss America over the cliff.

And, the Jean Louis Vermeil, Frediani Vineyards, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon will, in fact, save the day!

(Lord, I hope they have enough of it!)

To learn more about Vermeil Wines, the unique terroir of the Calistoga AVA, and a delightful assemblage of passionate vintners, visit www.apassionforthevine.com and www.vermeilwines.com.

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Novato Chess Club November 10, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I played football at Moreau Catholic High School in the mid 70's for Al Vermeil. Dick's younger brother was as much as inspiration to the men he coached as his brother, Al won 6 world championship rings with the Bulls and the first Superbowl with Joe Montana, and the 49ers for a total of 7. I will never forget Dick speaking at our football banquet - after he won the Rose Bowl as a head coach of the UCLA Bruins. It is a wonderful family of loyal committed men, asking you give your best effort at all time. God Bless the Vermeil family and the young men they helped guide to manhood.
Novato Chess Club November 10, 2012 at 08:01 PM
http://www.strengthpowerspeed.com/about/al-vermeil/ The only coach to win a championship in the NFL and NBA as a strength and conditioning coach--a great family of educators
Craig Belfor November 11, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Will Rogers once said "Politics and sausage are a lot alike. If you like either one, you shouldn't watch how it's made" Wine is also like that. Mono agriculture with lots of chemicals, underpaid illegal workers, damage to the ecosystem, and all for a product we can live without. It's SO American. That being said, I was ready to hear your take or analogy of the similarities of football, wine, and politics, maybe Thelma and Louise gunning it with a glass of wine in each hand, daring the Democrats to call the bluff of the Republicans, knowing the Republicans have more skin in the game than the middle class. Many other nations have said no the the demands, conditions, and ultimatums of the IMF and have emerged from their own bankruptcy better off. The financial institutions have averaged about 8% of our GNP every year except 1929 when it was 20%, and it's 22% now. Too many bacon painters are controlling and cooking the books, while manufacturing has gone from 30% to 10% of GNP. This could have been an epic blog.


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